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Friday, February 24, 2012

NCCC Board Member art show and statement

Bruce Barnbaum, long time NCCC board member, has an exhibit of 20 of his black and white photographs in Springfield, OR (near Eugene) from February 28 to March 30 at the Emerald Art Center gallery. The exhibit will be titled "Trees" (or something similar - the Gallery determining the exhibit's name). The gallery asked him to write an "artist's statement." We want to share that with you, with his permission of course:

Artist's Statement

I have dual goals for this exhibit: one artistic, the other educational.
Trees have always fascinated me for their sheer magnificence, their variety, and the diversity of their locations in which they grow. From the moment I began to photograph, trees were one of the subjects that I gravitated toward, both visually and emotionally. So, trees as photographic subject matter has been with me from the start. In my "Tone Poems ~ Book 2" the closing section, or opus, is titled "Among the Trees," featuring 45 images of trees.
I have found that trees are remarkable in virtually any type of lighting situation: from fog to bright sun, from dawn to dusk, from spring to summer to fall to winter, with leaves or without leaves, in whole or in detail.
Along the way, I have not only looked at, admired and photographed trees, I have learned a great deal about their extraordinary qualities and benefits. Loggers tend to see trees as wood. The thought is that if a tree has no value as wood—for furniture, construction, or any of a number of purely human uses—it has no value, whatsoever. The story of the Pacific Yew tree demolishes this viewpoint. The Pacific Yew tree, a generally scraggly conifer of the Pacific Northwest had no value for its wood—and therefore no value, whatsoever. Then it was discovered that a chemical in its bark, taxol, can be made into tamoxifen, which fights breast cancer. Suddenly, with a new human usage identified, the Pacific Yew tree went from the most useless tree in the forest to the most sought-after tree in the forest.
But all trees, whether they have value as wood or value as a cancer fighter produce oxygen in prodigious amounts. All trees purify water. Forests—even those on steep hillsides—moderate and slow catastrophic run-off from heavy rains or snow melts, often mitigating or even preventing catastrophic flooding. Trees provide habitat for any number of plant and animal species. Trees sequester carbon, and in today's world—except for those burying their heads in the sand on the issue of global warming—that is of enormous value. I can go on and on about the unseen benefits of trees, but the point is that even if we ignore direct or obvious human uses entirely, trees are essential to life as we know it.
Worldwide, we are destroying our forests. We have been doing this with ever-increasing efficiency for thousands of years. It's almost unimaginable today to recognize the simple phrase, "Cedars of Lebanon," for we can hardly picture Lebanon as a land covered with cedar trees. 95% of the original rainforest that covered the Pacific Northwest from Northern California to Alaska, has been logged off since Europeans came to the region. The remaining 5% exists primarily in isolated preserves. Today we are gutting the Amazon rainforest, the Central African rainforest, the Canadian and Siberian boreal forests, and the rainforests of the southeast Asian islands. In the process we are gutting a vast number both plants and animals, and in the long run, ourselves.
My hope is that in viewing these images, the viewer will see more than a group of 20 black and white photographs. My hope is that you will see some artistry in the way I have viewed the forests, and also you will see through the photographs to the real message that silent trees cannot convey themselves. Trees cannot trumpet their importance. Humans can learn about their importance. Humans can also learn how to live with and work with and love and respect and preserve trees for what they are. Humans have the intelligence to do this. The question is: do humans have the wisdom and the will to do this?

Bruce Barnbaum  

Holden mine souvenir map

This artistic map for sale on bandannas at Holden Village shows the extent of the mine tailings that have to be "mitigated." Let's not let a disaster like this happen anywhere else in our wild Cascades!

More from Jan Henderson

From an interview with Jan Henderson to be published in upcoming issues of The Wild Cascades:
Q: NCCC has been very skeptical about “restoration” logging, or thinning, and the idea that it can accelerate the development of “old growth characteristics” in younger forests. Can you tell us what you think of such claims?
APersonally I think the idea of "restoration" in this context is a ghost.  It appears to some people as a single faint image, to others as more defined but still vague images and to others, not at all.  No one, in my opinion, has presented a good vision of what is being restored or even how to do it.  Yet there is a strong momentum to do "something".  Doing something that increases the diameter of residual trees has very little to do with actually restoring old-growth forests, and often does more harm in this regard by setting back the development of many other important old-growth related characteristics.
See our previous post on 1/27 re. JH. And keep in mind, NCCC members get their copies of TWC by mail several weeks before it's posted on the NCCC website, so join us!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Barron Basin and the effects of the 1872 Mining Law

Rainy day today, good for reading hiking guides like "100 Hikes in Washington's North Cascades National Park Region" by long-time NCCC leader Harvey Manning. His description of hiking the PCT north from Hart's Pass includes this (p. 203)
Barron Basin is one of the most magnificent family-accessible family glorylands in the Cascades, but it is mainly "private property" and the "owners" have raised havoc, gouging delicate meadows with bulldozers, dumping garbage at will. This hike is bound to convert any casual walker into a fierce enemy of the ultra-permissive Federal mining laws, which make it next to impossible for the Forest Service to protect the land. Some of the desecration is very new, but much is a century old - note how long Nature needs to restore revaged meadows.
Another guidebook author notes the situation here, though it appears he hasn't experienced the same level of epiphany that Harvey did.

The 1872 Mining Law is notorious. Familiarize yourself with it here, and work toward ending its carte blanche for destruction of our unprotected wild public lands!